Wednesday, September 9, 2020


     So at about 6 years of age I  began the institutional part of my education. Bur don't forget that alongside the institution life experience and learning went on.

      The system I was going into was very different from other systems because of the territory. The Canadian prairies are huge and were sparsely populated. The Canadian prairies were settled around 1900. There were few railroads . Travel and freighting were done with horses. So schools had to be planned so that kids didn't have to travel too far to get to school. The plan was that kids shouldn't have to travel more than 4 miles. I was lucky. I only had to travel one mile and most of the time I walked.

     The school building was built in 1908 and was called Hiawatha. Ever hear the name Hiawatha used somewhere?. It was not insulated and was built with green lumber. As a result the lumber shrunk and left spaces the wind could blow through. The prairies are a very windy place. I remember the wind moaning around and through some of the building. The building also moved slightly in the wind so you always heard the creaking of nails and wood. So some days you listened to the wind song all day. 

     For some reason or other the little kids who were going to start school in September attended school in May and June.  It was a bit like a kindergarten. 

    The good citizens of the prairies were always very proud of their schools. The schools acted as a community center. Many times churches used the schools. 

   So before I actually get to school let me tell you that the education they provided was somewhat limited. Supplies of materials like books were limited. There was an initial purchase of books and not much after that. Teachers had very limited training. Some had not completed high school. Sometimes the school was closed for a while because they could not hire a teacher. Some teachers were very good and some very inept.

   This is the only photo I have of the building. I'm the little fellow in the middle row first left.